Marine assessments are an important tool for collating, synthesising and reporting meaningful indicators of ecosystem health to a broad, and often non-scientific audience. They are effective and repeatable reporting tools for examining the state and trends of marine systems, at many scales, including regionally (e.g., GBR Outlook Report), nationally (e.g., State of the Environment) and internationally (e.g., World Ocean Assessment). The most robust assessments are data-driven, and typically underpinned by time series of globally accepted ecosystem indicators, such as the Global Ocean Observing System Essential Ocean Variables.
In the Australian context, the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) is uniquely positioned to provide data on key physical, chemical and biological variables on both regional and national scales. The opportunity here is to value-add to the information collected by IMOS – and other ocean observing programs in Australia – by translating data into time series of ecosystem indicators that describe the state and trends of our pelagic environment. The target audience for the assessment report is policy makers, marine managers, and fellow scientists. This Task Team has a very deliberate intent not to replicate existing mature reporting programs by being explicit about what is in, and what is out of scope.
The Task Team model will:
- ensure a consultative and inclusive approach to the scope and content of the Assessment Report, guided by the independant steering committee.
- allow the Assessment Report to be developed in a realistic time-frame by supporting two face-to face workshops with contributors to the report, “off-line” work, and virtual meetings as required to address specific issues/
- harness support and expertise from IMOS in science communication, marine and environmental policy, and use and impact.
- establish a template for subsequent reports that deliver information and synthesis of trends and marine ecosystem responses, focusing on the pelagic environment.
- aim to support evidence-based decision making on issues of national significance, across the IMOS major research themes.
- help make IMOS and other Australian research and operational ocean data more discoverable through the AODN.